Washington Post refusal to bargain pushes workers into one-day strike
"Ladybird" walks the picket line in support of Washington Post workers. Photo courtesy of TNG Twitter.

WASHINGTON—Absolute refusal by the Washington Post to bargain, for 18 months pushed 700 of them, represented by The Washington-Baltimore News Guild into an 8 a.m.-midnight strike on December 7.

“They haven’t budged,” Guild Executive Director Cet Parks said in a telephone talk with Peoples World.

WBNG took to social media and the Action Network to make its case, urging subscribers not to engage with Post any way on strike day. The Action Network letter was addressed to three top Post executives, not including its owner, Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest people.

“Workers@washingtonpost have been in contract negotiations with our bosses for 18 months. But the company is refusing to pay us what we’re worth or bargain in good faith. So on Dec. 7, we’re walking off the job for 24 hours, their initial tweet read.

“Show solidarity by sending a letter to our publisher through this link, respecting our picket line (avoid Post journalism during our walkout).”

“The Washington Post can’t cut its way to success. Post workers are worth a fair deal,” the letter opens.

After 18 months of bargaining, “We still lack a contract that keeps pace with record-level inflation and guarantees workers a living wage.

“Meanwhile, because of our previous publisher’s mismanagement, the company has tried to balance its books by laying off nearly 40 people in the last year. Then they offered ‘voluntary’ buyouts to another 240… The Post has threatened if they don’t get enough people to leave, more layoffs will be next.

“That means fewer Post employees making the critical journalism that keeps our communities informed and holds our public officials accountable. Democracy Dies in Darkness, right?’ the letter asks, citing the paper’s own masthead slogan.

“Time and again, we’ve told the company’s leaders we’re worth more. They refused to listen. They refused to bargain in good faith. They have broken the law again and again” by doing so.

“So we’ve told company leaders that on Dec. 7, we’re striking for 24 hours, because we know there is no Washington Post without us.

Now Post leaders need to hear from you.” The letter invites personalization, urging “support…in our fight to keep our jobs and earn a living wage.”

The emailed letters will go to interim chief executive Patty Stonesifer, incoming publisher Will Lewis, and general counsel Jay Kennedy, with a copy to the Post Guild.

Meanwhile, the News Guild reported another big WBNG unit, the AFL-CIO staff, ratified a successor contract which, unlike its predecessor, has actual raises of 13.25% over four years. Recent previous agreements only won signing bonuses.

“The raises only happened because workers put pressure on the boss, in this case, the leaders of the AFL-CIO,” News Guild President Jon Schleuss wrote.

“They marched on the boss, they picketed outside headquarters, built a petition, demonstrated in the workplace, and much more. I got to join several of their job actions…and was inspired by their solidarity. They work for the entire labor movement and yet were not afraid to hold the house of labor to account.”

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.